1. What is it?
  2. What is it?
  3. Why is it performed?
  4. Preparing for the test
  5. What does the test feel like?

What is the EBUS technique?

Echobronchoscopy or EndoBronchial Ultra Sound (EBUS) is a test to study lung cancer and other tumors and inflammatory and infectious diseases that may affect the mediastinum, that is, the middle space of the rib cage that encompasses very important vascular, digestive, air, lymphatic and nervous structures, in addition to the heart itself.

One of its great advantages is that it makes it possible to diagnose lung cancer non-invasively and simultaneously determine the stage of the disease.

This diagnostic technique is minimally invasive, as it is performed in a day hospital under sedation and general anesthesia. Echobronchoscopy can thus avoid more costly and invasive surgical techniques such as mediastinoscopy.

What does it consist of?

Initially, a delicate flexible bronchoscope is introduced through the nose or mouth, which incorporates a transducer at the distal end that allows real-time visualization and puncture and aspiration of cellular material from the mediastinal nodes with a guided needle.

After the introduction of the flexible echo bronchoscope, the pneumologist explores the mediastinal nodes. Once the potentially pathological ones have been selected, they are punctured and aspirated. The samples obtained can be analyzed in the same examination room, so that the diagnosis can be immediate.

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Why is it performed?

This procedure is recommended as the main diagnostic tool to know the status of lung cancer, but it is also usually indicated for:

  • Perform biopsies of mediastinal lymph nodes (adenopathies).
  • Evaluate possible metastases in other organs
  • Detect infections (tuberculosis, fungi, etc.)
  • Identify inflammatory diseases (e.g.: sarcoidosis)

Preparation for the EBUS technique

The preparation is similar to that of a simple bronchoscopy:

  • Maintain total fasting: do not drink or eat anything at least 6 hours before the procedure.
  • Perform your inhalations if you have them as usual medications.
  • Avoid smoking, if they are smokers, to mitigate the risk of complications.

In the case of taking anticoagulant or antiplatelet medications, follow the guidelines indicated by a specialist physician to discontinue such medications.

What does the test feel like?

The intervention is not painful, as the procedure is performed under sedation. The duration of the test is usually about one hour.

After the intervention, the patient may have discomfort, mainly cough and some expectoration, and probably with traces of blood, but these symptoms will disappear with the passage of hours. Fever and pharyngeal discomfort may also occur.